Saturday, 27 February 2016

Vincent Dams / Broodthaers-Ader-Van Elk-Rietveld-Mondriaan-Magritte-Rembrandt

I remember saying in an interview once, that making fun with someone's work, is like an ode to that person. Like Marcel Duchamp drawing a moustache on the Mona Lisa, and saying she's got a wet pussy, hence her mystic smile. I can only see a nice kind of love in these sort of jokes. It's like a schoolyard where you make fun of the girl you actually really like. So in a way, you can see this selection of predecessors, dead teachers, whom I can only speak with through their and my own work, as girls I fell in love with. Awkward dialogues. And making fun. On the playground of the arts.
So I'm pleased they've asked me for this blog, because now, within this context, I have the opportunity to show and tell you a bit about these particular kind of works (perhaps I could call them 'loveletters' from now on) within my oeuvre, wich are all, on purpose of course, very close to it's origin. Shown together, for the first time. Nicely with the fallen heroes.

1. Marcel Broodthaers/Vincent Dams

The first time I saw Broodthaers' museum cap, it made me think of a book by André Malraux called 'La Musée Imaginaire'. I once found a German copy of the book on a fleemarket and as I remember (it's a long time ago since I've read it, and also, my German is not that well) it was about the idea that a museum becomes obsolete after photograpy and it's reproduction in books make it possible for all people to enjoy art in their own homes. I imagined Broodthaers cap as being architecture. A building, covering the head, embracing the museum of the mind. But then, thinking of my own mind. I rather thought of it as the depot of a museum. So I made my own cap.

1. Marcel Broodthaers
Casquette 'museum'

1. Vincent Dams
'Depot' Pet

2. Bas Jan Ader/Vincent Dams

We're still not telling.

2. Bas Jan Ader
I'm too sad to tell you

2. Vincent Dams
I'm too glad to tell you

3. Ger van Elk/Vincent Dams

First year of the academy a teacher told me to look at Mr. van Elk's work. He said we shared a same kind of struggle with esthetics. I don't know about that. But I do know I instantly fell in love with 'The Discovery of the Sardines'. It's nice energy combined with the absurdity felt like a great freedom. In the years following this discovery, every now and then, when I'm taking a walk, I fill a crack in honor of Mr. van Elk, with whatever is laying around or I got in my bag. But no sardines. I never really have sardines in my bag.

3. Ger van Elk
The Discovery of the Sardines

3. Vincent Dams
The Discovery of the very, very, very Lost Mohican, 2006
& The Discovery of the Kinder Schoko Bons, 2010

4. Gerrit Rietveld/Vincent Dams

In one of the secondhand stores in my hometown Eindhoven they have a big glass kabinet in wich they display the nicer things they've received, on wich you can bid. One time there was this Rietveld chair, on wich of course I bid too low. And ever since I really wanted to have this famous chair. I googled the plans, but didn't make a copy untill years later when I was working on a project about a fictional character, for whom I invented the term 'outsider­critic' (that's the arthistorian/critic equivalent for outsider­artist), who lived in a riverboathouse in the woods where he was rewriting the history of art on his own particular terms. According to his son, the father had no furniture except this Rietveld chair he made for himself out of deadwood. So I made that one instead. The other one I did, the children's version, was after a sketch for a poster called 'Rietveld from Space'. I imagined that it's red back was stretched and came from miles and miles and miles away, from a different galaxy. This looked so stupid, that I just had to make it. But apart from these lovely baby's, I also still wan't to make a proper one. It's such a great chair.

4. Gerrit Rietveld
Red Blue Chair
c. 1923

4.a. Vincent Dams
Bernard D. Bogart's Rietveld out of Deadwood Chair

4.b. Vincent Dams
Baby's Got Back (Rietveld from Space)

5. Piet Mondriaan/Vincent Dams

What if our beloved Piet wasn't a strict, milkywhite Dutchman, but a bit too smooth, bronzed Italian guy? This work sprung from the fact that I haven't been on vacation for a couple of years now. So the other title for this work was "Bij gebrek aan een kraakheldere blauwe zee vakantie, kunt u ook op geheel andere wijze uw oerhollandse rechtlijnigheid van een mediteraanse schwung voorzien",wich roughly translates as "Lacking a crystal clear blue sea holiday, there's also a completely different way to provide your traditional Dutch linearity with some Mediterranean panache". So, there you have it.

5. Piet Mondriaan
Compositie met geel en rood
oil on canvas
52 x 35 cm

5. Vincent Dams
Piedro Mondriano, Composizione con giallo e rosso
oil on paper
100 x 70 cm

6. René Magritte/Vincent Dams

In 'La clairvoyance' we see Magritte, the painter himself, looking at an egg and painting a bird. I had the idea of making a whole series of drawings, a kind of cliché narrative about what would happen next. The bird get's eaten by a cat. The cat get's bitten by a dog. The dog get's kicked by a boy. The boy get's slapped by a man. The man get's hit by a truck. The truck drives off a cliff hitting a dam. The dam brakes and floods the town... Something like that, but I only made a drawing with the cat.

6. René Margritte
De helderziendheid (zelfportret)
oil on linen
54,5 x 65,5 cm

6. Vincent Dams
René Resumé
pencil on paper
35 x 25 cm

7. Rembrandt van Rijn/Vincent Dams

Once, drunk at night, I discovered a secret selfportrait of Rembrandt in one of his etchings. But up till now, no art historian has taken this seriously. Allthough we can all clearly see it's there. Calling this a case of pareidolia seems utterly naïve. :)

7. Vincent Dams
Rembrandt's Secret Selfportrait
print and pencil drawing
8 x 12 cm

Vincent Dams (NL)

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